I Don’t Know How to Be the Confident-Macho-Hilarious-Take Charge-Jerk-Prince Charming that Women Want Me to Be
February 5th, 2010 by Nina Atwood
Dear Nina: I have started seeing this girl recently. She works full time but is also a part time student. We had a great first date, staying out to 2am on a week night just talking and our conversation only stopped because it started to rain. I followed up a couple days later by asking her out on a second date on a Friday night. She text’d me on Thursday saying that she couldn’t make it on Friday, how about Saturday instead. I said ok, Saturday is fine. Saturday, she told me she couldn’t make it because she had to finish her homework for an online class that’s due on Sunday, so lets meet up on Sunday. I said I can only meet during the day because I have other social plans Sunday evening. She said ok, and I suggested lunch. I text’d her Sunday around 10:30am, but she didn’t respond until 2pm. Her excuse was that she stayed up until 5am doing her homework and didn’t wake up until just then. She text’d that she was really sorry for not returning my text earlier. I told her “no worries, I’m bummed because I really was looking forward to seeing you again, maybe we’ll try again during the week.” She text’d back “you are too nice.” Is that her way of saying “you are too nice, I’m not interested in you anymore?” Was I being “too nice?” Do you think I’m turning her off because I did not express anger? Did I handle the situation correctly? If I did not, what should I have done differently? – Brad
Dear Brad: the short answer is yes, you are being too nice. There are two possibilities for why she broke your date on Sunday: 1.) she’s not that into you (we’ll come back to this), or 2.) she’s too immature and irresponsible to maintain her commitments. #2 is unlikely because she seems to be responsible enough to do her school work and pursue a degree. That leaves us with #1.
A mature woman who is interested in a man keeps the date. Not only does she keep it, she looks forward to it with positive anticipation. She dresses with the intention of impressing and attracting him further. She answers your calls or text messages. She sounds enthused about your dates when you talk to her. She meets you on time or is ready when you show up.
A woman who is not that into you puts you low on the priority list. She may think it’s a good idea to have a date lined up for the weekend, but if something better comes along (studying?? I doubt it), you’ll find yourself stood up. She’s slow to respond, she makes commitments but then breaks them. This is not a good deal for you.
One of the problems you’re contributing to is the TMing. It’s far too easy to think of a relationship that is conducted via text messages as a throw-away. But if you call her to set up your dates, talk to her verbally on the phone to confirm, you bring more relationship to the game. This is higher risk in terms of the potential for rejection, but you’ll get greater clarity qicker. If she’s not that into you, she’ll say “no” when you call. Or she’ll play the same games but it will be much harder for her to sustain them. Text messaging is appropriate as an add-on in a developed relationship, not as a tool for asking for dates or delivering emotionally charged communication. When my husband travels for work we often TM each other with little romantic messages or pictures of what we’re doing.
The first time someone breaks a commitment, you can cut them a little slack. I recommend that you call her and ask for another date. This time, though, tell her that if she changes her mind or something comes up, to please give you plenty of notice. This time, I want you to pay close attention to how she handles the date. Does she cancel the day of like before? Does she stand you up with an excuse? Or does she seem genuinely enthused about seeing you. Your job is to pay attention to these signals, and if you detect that she’s not that into you, tell her “It sounds like you have other priorities that are greater than going out with me so I’ll back off. If you change your mind, let me know and if I’m still available we can go out again.” I hope you will hold out for the banquet, Brad, and stop settling for crumbs.